Orlando Letelier

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Orlando Letelier

Marcos Orlando Letelier del Solar (Temuco, April 13, 1932-Washington DC, September 21, 1976) was a politician, economist and Chilean ambassador, member of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, according to the information declassified by the CIA, was assassinated by order of Augusto Pinochet in Washington DC by the agent of the CIA to the service of the Chilean DINA, Michael Townley, in 1976. He is the father of Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.

Orlando_Letelier’s Biography

He was the youngest son of the family formed by Orlando Letelier Ruiz and Inés del Solar Rosenberg and his sisters, Mariana and Fabiola. Although he was born in Temuco, he lived much of his childhood in Santiago.

He completed his studies at the Lastarria and National Institute lyceums. At age 16, he joined the Military School of Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins as a cadet. In 1949 he retired from the army, to then enter the Law School of the University of Chile.

His first political participation was as a university student, representative of the Independent University Group in the FECH, a position he held until 1952.

In 1955, he joined the newly formed Copper Department (now CODELCO), where he even worked as a research analyst in the copper industry. In 1959, he was dismissed from his position as advisor, for an internal restructuring. This fact was denounced as a political persecution by the then senator Salvador Allende, since that year Letelier had joined the Socialist Party.

At that time, he was married to Isabel Margarita Morel Gumucio, with whom he had three children, Cristián Alfredo, José Ignacio and Francisco Javier, later adding his last son, Juan Pablo.

The Letelier family had to go to Venezuela, where Orlando worked as a copper consultant, for the Ministry of Finance. He then joined the then newly created Inter-American Development Bank, where he eventually became a senior economist and director of the loan division. He was also one of the United Nations consultants responsible for the creation of the Asian Development Bank.

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